The Supreme Court has dismissed the appeal filed by firecracker manufacturers challenging the ban imposed by the Delhi Government on the sale and use of firecrackers. The Supreme Court Bench, composed of Justice B.P. Bopanna and M.M. Sundresh, reiterated its stance on the ban on traditional firecrackers as a measure to combat pollution, dating back to 2018.
In addition to reaffirming their support for the ban, the Court ruled that no temporary licenses for firecracker sales should be issued by police authorities. Notably, there has been a ban on granting permanent licenses for firecracker manufacturing and sales since 2016.
The "green firecrackers," developed by the National Environment and Engineering Research Institute under the auspices of the Council for Scientific and Industrial Research in 2018, were introduced as an environmentally friendly alternative. These firecrackers are touted as emitting fewer pollutants and generating less noise compared to traditional ones.
One significant difference is the absence of barium nitrate, a harmful chemical commonly found in conventional firecrackers, in most green firecrackers. These eco-friendly alternatives use alternate chemicals such as potassium nitrate and aluminium instead of magnesium and barium, and they replace arsenic and other more harmful pollutants with carbon. Regarding noise levels, they produce up to 130 decibels compared to the conventional firecrackers' 200 decibels.
There are three types of eco-friendly crackers: SWAS (Safe Water Release), STAR (Safe Thermite Cracker), and SAFAL (Safe Minimum Aluminium).
However, experts have pointed out that while these green firecrackers show promise, they only result in a 20-30% reduction in pollution. In a city like Delhi, where pollution levels are consistently high, this reduction may seem relatively small. Furthermore, concerns have been raised about the safety and regulatory checks these firecrackers have undergone.
The combined efforts of the Delhi government, including the ban on green firecrackers and the restriction on temporary licensing, along with the Supreme Court's endorsement of these measures, aim to mitigate the excessive air pollution that plagues Delhi during the festive season. Known for its polluted skies, the city has seen a 40% increase in PM (particulate matter) levels, leading to a 20% rise in respiratory problems. The ban on all types of firecrackers, whether traditional or eco-friendly, holds promise for the well-being of Delhi's residents.
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